This is some actually honest travel advice about what it is really like to stay at the Kakslauttanen Glass Igloo Hotel and Arctic Resort.
About Kakslauttanen Winter Resort
Popular across social media feeds thanks to well-produced promotional videos, Kakslauttanen Winter Resort is now the most infamous hotel in northern Finland, offering visitors accommodation in glass igloos for optimal viewing of the Northern Lights. The arctic resort offers a few different types of glass igloos, including the traditional glass igloos that you have likely seen on social media people, the Kelo-Glass Igloo (pictured below) and snow igloos. The resort sits on a massive piece of land, a large portion of it which has been left as wilderness, adding to the magical nature of this hotel. The hotel’s property is divided by a small river, with the glass igloos on one side and the Kelo-Cabins on the other, and common areas like the lodge in between.
Prior to Arrival
I had my heart set on Kakslauttanen from the beginning—it just seemed so enchanting. My travel companions looked at online reviews of the resort to find mixed reviews left by former guests. A lot of people complained that the resort was overpriced, nickel-and-dimed people for every service and was overall a bit disappointing. But I persisted, and we booked a Kelo-Glass Igloo cabin for 4.
Going in with the knowledge that our experience might have a few snags, I had mixed expectations for our experience. I certainly expected the experience to be expensive (honestly, everything in Lapland is), but I was incredibly excited for the cabin itself and the natural surroundings we would be experiencing.
Arrival at Kakslauttanen
The only airport in Lapland is Italo airport, a 2 hour flight from Helsinki, which Finn Air offers daily service to. We rented a car at the tiny airport, and drove ourselves 45 minutes south to Kakslauttanen. We pulled off the main highway when our Google Map instructed us to, and proceeded to drive about 2 km straight into the woods with no signs to guide our way.
It was a bit challenging to find our way to the main lobby of the resort, and they are in desperate need of a few more signs to mark the route. Once we arrived, we were given a map of the grounds to aid in our discovery the area. Due to the high snow levels, guests are given a wooden sleigh to push your luggage to your cabin! We were lucky to have rented a car, and could pull up right next to our cabin to unload our bags.
Positive Parts of the Experience
Kelo Cabin Accommodations
This was one of the things that I thoroughly enjoyed about our time at Kakslauttanen. The Kelo Cabin was perfect—I really loved it. The traditional style of the log cabins fits well with the natural surroundings, including a wood burning fireplace, electric sauna and cozy down comforters. The best part was, of course, the glass igloo on the front of the cabin for natural viewing. There are two beds in the igloo which you can adjust to incline for more comfortable aurora viewing. Unfortunately it snowed the entire time that we were in Lapland, which means the cloud cover was too thick to see the aurora. While that was a bummer, the comfort of the Kelo Cabin accommodations still led to an incredibly enjoyable experience!
Coordinated Wilderness Excursions
One of (the many) ala-carte ammenities you can add onto your stay at Kakslauttanen Winter Resort are wilderness excursions. I really enjoyed these, and I found that Kakslauttanen chose high-quality providers to coordinate unique Lapland experiences like a husky safari, northern lights photography seminar and more. Nature is one of the reasons to visit Lapland, so make sure you take advantage of it! We did one per day, and that felt like the perfect amount. It is easy to arrive for the transportation at the front desk, and Kakslauttanen takes care of the rest.
Incredible Natural Ambiance
By far the loveliest part of the resort is the ambiance of the natural surroundings. We felt lucky to get the cabin that we did because it was on the edge of the property (cabin #6 on the map above), so we couldn’t see anything out our glass igloo except the wilderness. It was wonderful!
The grounds of the resort have open access for guests to explore, so we wandered around on foot, taking in the cold temperatures, fresh snow and the sheer darkness of Lapland’s skies in the winter. You can also rent snowshoes to make the walk more comfortable, but a thick pair of Sorel boots works just fine too!
I was amazed by how romantic the vibe in the woods was. This is a family resort, but when you are cozied up inside your igloo, it doesn’t feel like it. Is there anything more romantic that watching snow come down with a glass of wine inside your log cabin? Kakslauttanen certainly has a picturesque vibe!
Not-So Positive Parts of the Experience
To be honest, we didn’t have good interactions with the staff at Kakslauttanen. They seemed busy, stressed and unhappy to provide helpful service. When we would ask questions at the main desk, the answers were curt and straightforward. If we went up to the main lodge for coffee or breakfast, we were rarely greeted or even acknowledged, which led to a general sense of discomfort when interacting with the staff.
This resort is quite remote—pretty much in the middle of nowhere. As such, I would expect the resort to provide amenities and services that guests need, especially given the high price point for the accommodations themselves. However, most of the services they offer are ala-carte, carrying an extra price tag. The resort does make this clear from the beginning, by sending you an elaborate pricing sheet (which I found incredibly difficult to understand), so I knew they would be charging for extra services, but we found it to be a bit overboard.
Also, the materials they sent ahead of time lacked much detail or organization, so it was confusing to understand which amenities are included and which are excluded. We thought the only food that was included was breakfast. As such, we went and bought supplies at the grocery store, only to find out when we arrived at the resort that dinner was included too.
Conclusions on Kakslauttanen Winter Resort
Given all of this information, you might be wondering what is my conclusion is. Would I recommend a stay at Kakslauttanen Winter Resort? Was it overrated? I would say yes to both questions.
There is no way around it—Kakslauttanen is expensive—and high price tags often lead to high expectations. The accommodations available to Lapland’s visitors are largely touristic. As a remote destination dependent on tourism, the options for accommodations are limited, thus making them by default, costly and overrated. I think people’s expectations of what Kakslauttanen will be like are probably too high to begin with, inherently setting themselves up to be disappointed.
The expectations are further inflated by social media. Instagram has a way of making everything look incredibly impressive. Certainly Kakslauttanen is special and a bucket-list experience, but the reviews make the overinflated expectations of travelers apparent. They wanted far more than this experience would deliver.
However, staying in a glass igloo under the stars is one of the most unique accommodation experiences in the world. It is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Do you want to cross off that bucket-list item? Then you’re going to choose Kakslauttanen. Is the glass igloo hotel the best and most amazing place I’ve ever stayed? No. Is it one of the most unique and cool places I’ve ever stayed? Yes. And for that, it is special and I would recommend to a traveler with solid expectations who is seeking something different.
If you choose to stay at Kakslauttanen Glass Igloo hotel, my recommendation would be to tamper your expectations, splurge for the Kelo cabin (they are WAY nicer) and spend your time enjoying the natural surroundings of the area. Also, make sure to sign up for a few winter activities — they are some of the best ways to get outside and enjoy the Lapland wilderness! Don’t expect the best service or food of your life, but do expect an incredibly unique and romantic experience where you can enjoy the benefits of the resort while sleeping in the middle of the Finnish wilderness.
This post was originally published in April 2018 and updated in January 2020.